Leading up to my 30th birthday, many thoughts crossed my mind. I’m not getting any younger. My epic 20’s are over. I’m OLD now. Ugh. Obsessing about this end of an era so to speak, was inducing a pre-30 panic attack. Why was this age so hard for me to accept? Is it because I’m young at heart? Or just afraid of truly growing up? Really, where have the last 10 years went?
Instead of freaking out over my impending doom, I took a moment to look back at the last decade. It is truly remarkable how many amazing things I have done:
I graduated college.
Moved down to Florida with $1000 and an air mattress to my name. What could be possibly more exciting (or stupid) than that?
Married my soul mate.
Began a career that I’m truly blessed to be a part of. My design mentor, Kim, gave me my first chance as an intern at the age of 22!
I’ve faced all kinds of fears (and geez I didn’t realize it before, but I think I’m afraid of everything).
I went on a trip by myself to Louisiana to do volunteer hurricane relief work with United Way. I made friends there and grew stronger.
More recently, I climbed a ladder for the very first time.
I became Lady Gaga.
We moved across the country again, this time to Texas. Finally a taste of the big city life.
Ran my first race.
Bought a house.
Life has been so incredibly good to us. It’s amazing what a little perspective can do. Eating that piece of humble pie and counting my blessings really helped me see it all in a whole new light.
I’m realizing I couldn’t have done these things without the help of others. Sure it comes from within, but you need others to achieve goals. It seems like I’ve become this person who is always trying to do it all myself. I hate asking for help or feeling like I’m burdening someone else. More than anything, I think I don’t like feeling like I’m not strong enough to do something on my own. But as time goes on, I’m realizing just how much you need others in life, and how much they need you too.Independence is key also. My husband has been on a ton of work trips lately, and although I hate when he leaves, I’ve embraced the alone time. We all need it sometimes to find ourselves.
Speaking of finding myself, I realized I dreaded 30 for so long because I thought I’d “have it together” by the time I hit this age. I pictured myself with kids. Head honcho in my career. Older. Wiser. Perhaps (slightly?) more mature. I imagined a me that would be able to keep a plant alive for longer than 2 weeks. One that isn’t so forgetful. Or scatterbrained. At times, I really think I had more ambition and drive fresh out of college. You have these big dreams when you’re in your early 20’s. You’re ready to take on the world. Then as time goes on – wa wa wa – real life happens. You get caught up in the day-to-day. You get comfortable. And in my case, I let it get the best of me so many times. I let others get in my head. But I’m realizing this WAS my downfall, not my future. If I want extraordinary, I cannot settle for less. I must open my heart and mind to new experiences, possibility of failure, and criticism.
Through it all, I’m realizing success is measured in different ways – not these concrete milestones you set for yourself at a young age. The older I get, the bigger my goals get. And the bigger the goals, the harder they are to achieve. It can be intimidating, tiring, and frustrating. I’m relearning patience and understanding. The hardest thing for a proactive person to embrace is that sometimes the timing just isn’t right. As much as you may want something, you can not force it. If it hasn’t happened yet, there’s a reason. I used to think “well what am I doing wrong?”, but I’ve changed it to “What can I be doing differently? What can I be doing everyday to get to the end result?” We can’t control what happens to us in this life, we can only control how we respond.
I woke up on November 17th just as I did any other day. Nothing earth-shattering happened at 12 midnight. I did not turn into a pumpkin. Or get like 50 gray hairs overnight. I did not feel instantly older. But I did have a realization. With each passing day I am getting older. I cannot stop time. That’s why it’s so important to live in the present, be thankful for all the blessings, and look forward to what the future holds. I’m finally ready to shut the chapter on my 20’s because there are so many memories left to make! C’mon life, bring it!